Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Caress of Twilight--chapter 3

I think the one thing that makes the massive amount of stupid Merry and Co. preform regularly an acceptable thing is, Faeries are supposed to be psychotic. Anita Blake can't get away with putting a gun to her best friend's head because she's human. Merry can.

That said, there's only so much stupid I can take before my head implodes. LKH's writing is, as I think I firmly established last month, a crime against humanity. But if you divorced her writing from the hate, homophobia, misogyny and numerous -isms that give it so much spice and you just examined her writing for structural flaws, her biggest sin is what she reaches for when conflict is required.

The first thing a writer can do when they need conflict is throw something through the window. Grenades. Bullets. Cats. Cars. Small children. Something that will trigger an onslaught of excitement. LKH is good at throwing shit though windows, but you can only do that so many times per story before somebody gets tired of it.

The second method is to have friction between characters spill over into violence. This works fine when the two characters are on opposite sides of the protagonist/antagonist fence. It becomes highly problematic, however, when the characters constantly threatening each other with death and maiming are the main characters in the cast. Imagine if you will what Star Wars would be like if, instead of Han Solo making snarky remarks and drooling on Carrie Fisher's cleviage, he put his blaster to Obi Wan's head every couple of scenes. We are supposed to believe that these people are good guys, that they are people I should root for, and that Merry has every reason to fall in love with each of them (because come on, guys. This is porn) and it is very hard for me to buy all that when we're three chapters into the book and friendly fire violence is what closes two of them.

I'm way ahead of myself, aren't I?

Well, not a lot happens in this chapter. Merry and Co. discuss what to do about Maeve Reed, because Taranis, the King of the Seelie Court, would probably kill Merry for breaking Maeve's exile. The Co. here are Doyle, Rhys and Kitto, the part goblin dude Merry keeps under her desk. This is problematic because Rhys lost an eye to goblins and it didn't grow back. This is unusual among the Fae, given that they can heal everything (IDK if I mentioned it when I reviewed Kiss of Shadows, but at one point the pretty butterfly Tinkerbell type fae ate Nicca's penis. At least I think it was Nicca. They ate somebody's penis, and this was a big deal because after he regrew it the dong just didn't work right, and Merry winds up having to horse trade with her enemies to fix it.) so Rhys has some pretty obvious issues were goblins are concerned.

There are two healthy ways to handle this. Situation one is, you rely on Rhys to work on his issues and let you know when the presence of another person is about to trigger him. Situation two, you understand that Rhys can't or won't deal with things, so you take steps yourself to keep him from doing something stupid, mostly by keeping him and the half-goblin man as far apart as possible.

How does Merry handle this? By putting Rhys and Kitto in the same room together and by letting Rhys be armed.

After some cutesy-coo stuff involving movies and how few of the Fae have ever been to see one, Rhys starts going on rants about how awful goblins are because obviously Kitto's dad raped Kitto's mom. Doyle lets this run for a minute and then asks how many Goblin women got raped by Sidhe men. Rhys says he never raped anybody and Doyle says the queen would kill him if he had, but most of the dudes that weren't in her personal guard did plenty of rapening while they were looting and pillaging. In short: Sit down and shut the fuck up.

Rhys takes this as a challenge, and this happens:

He did nothing; even his hands were loose in his lap, just that terrible tension in his back, the set of his shoulders, the way he held himself as if he were a blink away from some terrible physical action— something that would rip the room apart and paint the sparkling glass with blood and thicker things. Rhys had done nothing, nothing, yet violence rode the air like a kiss just above the skin, something to make you shiver with anticipation, even though nothing had happened. Not yet, not yet.

"Nothing" doesn't look like a word anymore. And you know what? Much as the writing in Narcissus sucked, Merry Gentry is a whole hell of a lotta worse. There are brief stand alone moments where an image turns up that I like, but most of the time? No. Just no.

Rhys begins to glow, and his eye...look, just read this shit, okay?

The brilliant cornflower blue around his pupil glowed like neon; the sky blue that circled it was a match for the sunny sky outside; and the last circle of winter sky shimmered like blue heat.
Do you know why they said "Wait until you see the whites of their eyes" during the revolution? BECAUSE EYES ARE VERY VERY FUCKING HARD TO SEE. If your eyes changed color, I probably wouldn't notice for the first couple of hours. And I'm talking bizzare color change, like blue to gold or something. One special color I could get, but this shit is just stupid. 

And then Rhys attacks Kitto. Because we are three chapters into the book and there is no plot.

Merry pulls a knife on him, puts it to his neck and draws blood. Then she lays claim to Kitto like he's a fucking island in the pacific and she's Ferdinand Magellen. The "He's MINE" posturing here makes me think we're a few short moments away from territory being marked via urine. And then we get the usual "I'm a badass" posturing about how Merry knows she could kill Rhys if she had to, and I don't buy it from her any more than I did from Anita. DO SOMETHING BAD ASS FIRST.

And then Merry realizes that power corrupts, she has a hystarical laughing fit, and the chapter ends with her sobbing uncontrollably on the office floor.

Empowering Heroine. Right.

4 comments:

  1. Haha, oh what a bunch of FAIL! I think I made it to Mistral's Kiss in this series before the WTFery became too much.

    I hate the way that LKH uses past trauma as a cheap drama generating device. Granted, Rhys isn't human, but with his supposed age and power I find it kind of hard to believe that he flies off the handle THAT easily when Kitto has done nothing to provoke him. In the hands of a more skilled writer this type of scene can be believable, but as is...no. Just no.

    Also? Kitto creeps me the hell out. I know he is supposed to be ancient, but LKH insists on harping on how small and childlike he is...small AS IN childlike, not just delicate, which makes the eventual sex with Merry very squicky to me.

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  2. Haha, oh what a bunch of FAIL! I think I made it to Mistral's Kiss in this series before the WTFery became too much.

    I hate the way that LKH uses past trauma as a cheap drama generating device. Granted, Rhys isn't human, but with his supposed age and power I find it kind of hard to believe that he flies off the handle THAT easily when Kitto has done nothing to provoke him. In the hands of a more skilled writer this type of scene can be believable, but as is...no. Just no.

    Also? Kitto creeps me the hell out. I know he is supposed to be ancient, but LKH insists on harping on how small and childlike he is...small AS IN childlike, not just delicate, which makes the eventual sex with Merry very squicky to me.

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  3. "How does Merry handle this? By putting Rhys and Kitto in the same room together and by letting Rhys be armed."

    ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS

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  4. Conflict creates character. Pointless, petty, easily avoidable conflict that serves no purpose creates short-sighted, petty, dim-witted characters who are obviously incapable of dealing with other people without silly bickering.

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